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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Patricia Aldana, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 6 of 6
1. Welcome to the Poetry Friday!



Everybody has a song,
be it short or be it long,
in the right or in the wrong key,
Like the hee-haw of a donkey,
Twitter, tweet, tu-whit, tu-whoo,
howl or growl or quack or moo.
Don’t be silent
nor afraid,
you must sing
as you’ve been made.

Translation by Stan Dragland of the South African poem “Elke outjie…” by Philip de Vos

Welcome, everybody, to this week’s Poetry Friday, which we are delighted to be hosting.  Please leave comments below with links to your “songs” and I’ll be updating this post throughout the day.

The above poem comes from the joyous anthology Under the Spell of the Moon: Art for Children from the World’s Great Illustrators.  This superb book, first published by Groundwood in Canada in 2004, then in the UK in 2006 by Frances Lincoln, is now available for the first time in paperback (Frances Lincoln, 2012). Produced by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), the book is edited by erstwhile President of IBBY and founder of Groundwood Patsy Aldana, and has a thought-provoking Foreword by award-winning author Katherine Paterson.  It provides a fantastic showcase of 32 illustrators from across the globe, who have all donated their work to benefit IBBY – indeed 12.5% of the book’s proceeds go to IBBY.  Illustrators include Piet Grobler, who illustrated the poem cited above, as well as many others of my personal favorites such as Mitsumasa Anno (Japan), Peter Sís (Czech Republic/USA), Anthony Browne (UK), Isol (Argentina), Pulak Biswas (India), Luis Garay (Nicaragua) – and the book has also introduced me to many illustrators whose work I intend to explore further…

Each illustrator was asked to “illustrate a text of his or her own choosing, be it a poem, nursery rhyme, song, piece of prose, riddle or street game.”  The result is a wonderfully eclectic gathering of mostly verse that is given in its original language, sometimes incorporated into the artwork, and, where necessary, in English translation: and indeed a special shout-out must go to Stan Dragland’s virtuoso translations.  The quirkiness of the collection probably comes from this freedom of choice given to the global spread of illustrators: so each page turn brings a surprise, both in text and artistic style.  The one thing that links every page is the joie de vivre of the texts and the virtuosity each illustrator has brought to his or her contribution.

And n

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2. Librarians at Bologna - Part 3: Putting Books into the Hands of Children

During our session with the IFLA (International Federation of Libraries Associations and Institutions) in Bologna, both speakers (Patsy Aldana and Viviana Quiñones) stressed the importance of children having access to books which both reflect their experiences and open windows onto other customs and cultures. We were urged to pay a visit to the stand shared by a number of different African publishers, and there we met three very special publishers, all producing books to meet that demand.

The first two were librarians we had met at the session the day before: Antoinette F. Correa from BLD (Bibliothèque-Lecture-Développement) Éditions in Senegal and Pili Dumea of the Children’s Book Project (CBP) for Tanzania.

Antoinette F. Correa of BLD Éditions, Senegal

Antoinette, pictured right with a selection of her books, told me that she set up BLD Éditions to meet the needs of both teachers and pupils, who were crying out for access to good books in their own language. She is a well-known figure in the IFLA, and sees the continued development of libraries as crucial work: as well as publishing books, BLD helps to set up libraries and trains librarians.

Pili Dumea, Children-s Book Project for Tanzania

Pili, pictured left, is secretary to the CBP for Tanzania, which, again, connects children with books published locally. Last year the CBP was awarded the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize for its work promoting the love of books among children and adults. One eleven-year-old, talking about her school library, following the school’s affiliation to the CBP, said

“I have read most of the books in the school library which helped me learn about different topics through interesting stories told in our own national language, Kiswahili, which is easier to understand than English.”

The third publisher was Bakamé Éditions from Rwanda, who publish children’s books in the national language, Kinyarwanda, which is understood by all Rwandans. They also run various projects to promote reading, including their “Bibliothèque en route” – a rucksack library, which takes books out to children who do not have access to an actual library. It gets a tiny mention on their English pages, but if you read French, there’s more here. Editions Bakamé was the joint recipient of this year’s IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award and this article on IBBY’s website is also an interesting read.

The work these organisations are doing is truly awe-inspiring and it was a real privilege to meet Antoinette and Pili.

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3. Librarians at Bologna - Part 2: La Joie Par Les Livres

Last week, I talked about Patricia Aldana’s address to the International Meeting of Children’s Librarians in Bologna. Our second speaker on that occasion was Viviana Quiñones, who spoke to us about the French national children’s book organisation La Joie par les Livres. After running through its history, she told us about some of their initiatives in promoting children’s books, such as travelling exhibitions of African books and books about the Arab world, the Caribbean and around the Indian Ocean. They also publish two magazines: “La Revue des livres pour enfants” and “Takam Tikou”, which focuses on multicultural books in French.

Of particular interest was what Viviana had to say about their work with libraries and independent publishers in Africa. Like Patricia Aldana, she stressed how important it is for children in Africa to find their own experiences mirrored in the books they read: and to read books that are reasonably up to date and written in their own language. In 1985, internationally renowned librarian Geneviève Patte visited Mali and other African countries, where she found that all the library books were old and in French… In 1987 she set up a service within La Joie par les Livres to collaborate with libraries and the publishers of African children’s books to promote books in the local languages. La Joie par les Livres also trains librarians, which raises the status of the libraries in the eyes of local communities.

Viviana said that there are still challenges, for example, with the distribution of books, but that in the world of African publishing, there are some inspirational stories. Afterwards, she recommended a book to me called Courage and Consequence: Women Publishing in Africa edited by Mary Jay and Susan Kelly and published by the African Books Collective. In fact, I had been sitting right next to Pili Dumea from Tanzania and across the room from Antoinette Correa from Senegal – both librarians turned publisher, whom I’ll be talking about in Part 3…

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4. Michael Lindsay, Bud McFarlane and Richard Nixon


Last spring, just as OUP was beginning to buzz with excitement for our fall books, D. Michael Lindsay, the author of Faith In The Halls of Power, came and talked to us. For the next couple of weeks I am going to share some of what he said. It the podcast below Lindsay tells the story of what happened when Bud McFarlane woke up from his attempted suicide attempt. The transcript of the audio is after the jump.


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5. Bologna Children’s Book Fair!

bologna_logo.jpgAh, Bologna!

Aline and I have much to tell about our fantastic trip to the Bologna Children’s Book Fair at the beginning of this month. There really is no better event to take the pulse of the children’s book publishing world: and what a world that is!

We’ve met so many interesting people and enjoyed putting faces to names of organisations and publishers; we’ve attended inspiring presentations; and have been dazzled by the quality and endlessly varied styles of the illustrations we’ve come across, both in the books we have browsed through and as part of the fair’s special exhibits. The overall impression was of immense industry – people in deep discussion, buying and selling rights; looking through artists’ portfolios; rushing between presentations – what a buzz!

Over the next few weeks, Aline and I will be posting on a variety of topics. In the meantime, here are some of the highlights for us, in no particular order:

Looking at the proofs for Ed Young’s new book, Wabi Sabi (written by Mark Reibstein);
Meeting librarians from all over the world at a session organised by the IFLA (International Federation of Libraries Associations and Institutions) – so lively that we were asked to be quiet…! – and hearing IBBY President and Canadian Groundwood Books publisher, Patricia Aldana’s presentation entitled “Books as Mirrors”;
Attending the launch of the International Youth Library’s White Ravens 2008 catalog;
Listening to poets Michael Rosen (UK Children’s Laureate) and Jorge Lujan’s contributions to a panel titled “Poetry Break: Poetry in Children’s Books”;
Attending the award-presentation of the Bologna Raggazzi “New Horizons” Award to Chennai-based Tara Publishing, for the hand-made book The Nightlife of Trees, and watching how the book came into being;
Hearing illustrators Robert Ingpen and Paul O. Zelinsky talk about their contributions to the book Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their Art (the proceeds of which go to the Eric Carl Museum of Picture Book Art.)…

Well, I could just keep going – and I will. And so will Aline: so keep coming back as the full picture unfolds…

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6. Librarians at Bologna - Part 1: Books as Mirrors

Continuing with our current literacy focus, and thinking towards World Literacy Day on September 8th, this is the first of three posts focusing on and beyond a session at this year’s Bologna Book Fair…

In my first post following our return from the Bologna Book Fair, I highlighted the session organised by the IFLA (International Federation of Libraries Associations and Institutions). The session was organised by the Netherlands Public Library Association and they called it “Invitation to JES: Join – Enjoy – Share”. Despite not being librarians, Aline and I were made very welcome and we really enjoyed chatting to the librarians afterwards. In fact, the various informal discussions got so lively that we were asked to keep the noise down – well, makes a change! As well as our Dutch hosts, there were children’s librarians there from all over the world: Australia, Colombia, Croatia, France, Italy, Japan, Senegal and Tanzania. The atmosphere was buzzing!

We had two speakers: the first, Patsy Aldana, the current president of IBBY, gave us a fascinating talk entitled “Books as Mirrors” in which she traced the history of Multicultural Book publishing in her native Canada, and in which her own Groundwood Books has been so ground-breaking (for more on multiculturalism in Canadian publishing, see here). It had been a very painful struggle, she said, to define the role of the writer: who could write legitimately about what? Those white people who had been the only published writers of books under the multicultural umbrella would ask, “Why can’t I write whatever I want? Who are you to tell me not to write about your experience?” and were being asked “What right do you have to steal my story – the world you’re describing is not real”.

This situation is now much resolved in Canada but there are still real concerns. “Children need books that are windows and books that are mirrors,” she said: and unfortunately there is uneven access for children to these kinds of books. What happens to children who never see themselves in the books they read; and one step further, what happens when children are not taught to read in their own language? It is an enormous disincentive to the desire to read. She pointed to the work of some “fabulous” small publishers from all over the world and urged us to visit their stands at the fair – such as Tara Books from India, Ekeré from Venezuela, and Editions Bakamé from Rwanda, (which shared this year’s IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award). Small publishers need our support because so often it is their books which give “that flash of recognition – That is me!”

Citing the example of an Iranian librarian in Sweden who is able to ensure that children of Iranian background can access books attuned to their experience and outlook, Patsy concluded by saying that librarians are the people who can be relied on to bring books to children. Librarians can insist on quality – for without quality it is hard to foster a love of reading and provide the key to the mirror/window.

I think there’s plenty to chew on there and I will post about the second speaker in Part2!

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